OCI opens expanded processing facility in Fortune

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Newfoundland Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings announced $300,000 for harvesting and processing upgrades for the new Ocean Choice International processing plant in Fortune at its official opening today.

In a news release, the province said the opening of the plant fulfills an important requirement in an agreement between the company and the provincial government to create significant processing employment in the region, and generate greater value from provincial groundfish resources.

The new provincial funding comes from the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program.

“The provincial government’s agreement with Ocean Choice International reflects our commitment to maximizing economic benefits from our fish resources, and ensuring the well-being of residents in rural areas,” Hutchings said in a news release. “Today’s opening is an important step toward achieving these goals, and I am pleased to announce $300,000 from the provincial government to assist with integrating innovative harvesting and processing technology to support the long-term success of this facility.”

The minister said the funding provided by the province will support the integration of three separate technological innovations — new harvesting technology that has been proven to achieve greater catch rates and minimize seabed contact, faster and more energy efficient equipment for thawing seafood during processing, and X-ray technology that would improve the yield of filleted product.

“Careful planning, negotiation, and investments by this government have created economic gains for the people of the Burin Peninsula, who have had a long-standing connection to the groundfish industry in this province. This is a great day for the region, and an achievement that we will build on in the coming years,” said Justice Minister Darin King, the MHA for Grand Bank.

 In addition to opening the Fortune processing facility, OCI has announced it would expand its operations in the area. The company has leased a vessel, the Ocean Breeze, to harvest cod that will create additional activity in the plant.

OCI president and CEO Martin Sullivan said Ocean Choice is very proud of its investment in its operations in Fortune, which have exceeded the $1 million committed in its original agreement with the provincial government and will generate “tremendous” economic activity in the area for years to come.

“We appreciate the provincial government’s assistance with our efforts to make groundfish harvesting and processing viable in the province, and look forward to bringing high quality yellowtail and cod products to markets around the world,” Sullivan said.

The province says OCI is committed to creating a minimum of 110 full-time processing positions for a minimum of five years.

It also says the agreement between Ocean Choice International and the provincial government has improved the utilization of the province’s yellowtail resource and generated more economic activity for the fishery.  In 2011, 3,955 tonnes of yellowtail was harvested, but in 2013 more than 7,500 tonnes has been caught.

 

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  • Corporate Psycho
    December 18, 2013 - 14:42

    At the expense of Marystown or is it from the 400 million payout?

  • Ken Collis
    December 18, 2013 - 12:33

    You forgot to mention that the "harvesters" you speak of are the guys on the Ocean Choice vessels. Inshore harvesters already have very little contact with the seabed. It's still the big boys that are using draggers. The headline should read 'Province Gives $300,000 to Ocean Choice'